- The Washington Times - Friday, July 13, 2001

Bush numbers up
President Bush's job approval rating improved to 57 percent in a CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll released yesterday. Several recent polls had shown his job approval slipping to just over 50 percent.
But the Gallup poll taken Tuesday and Wednesday showed Mr. Bush's job approval numbers improving from the 52 percent he had in this poll at the start of the month.
His personal approval was at 70 percent — up from 60 percent in January.
A majority approved of how Mr. Bush was handling the economy, foreign affairs, education and taxes, and a solid majority rated him as honest and trustworthy, a strong and decisive leader and said he shared their values.
The poll of 998 adults has an error margin of plus or minus three percentage points.

Kyl plays hardball
Sen. Jon Kyl says he has won a promise from Senate Democratic leaders that they finally will allow a vote on five Interior Department nominees.
Of the more than 300 nominations made by President Bush, fewer than one-third have been confirmed by the Senate — the slowest rate on record. Approving Bush nominees has fallen even further among Senate priorities since the Democrats took control of that chamber a few weeks ago.
The Arizona Republican said he refused to agree to a unanimous consent agreement Tuesday night to consider an Interior Department authorization bill until the leadership agreed to bring to the floor the five pending Interior Department nominees. The leadership promised to send the nominees to the full Senate by the close of business yesterday, Mr. Kyl said in a prepared statement.
Mr. Kyl said he would continue to use objections to force the leadership to solve what he described as a confirmation crisis.
"Presidents are entitled to swift consideration of the men and women they have asked to serve their administrations," Mr. Kyl said. "The new Senate leadership has moved quickly on issues of interest to them, yet they drift and delay on other items pivotal to the proper functioning of government."

Clinton's Camp David
"Most ex-presidents just fade away, but not Bill Clinton. In fact, he's in the process of setting up a presidency in exile back home in Arkansas," Paul Bedard writes at the U.S. News & World Report Web site ( www.usnews.com ).
"Just this week, he filed an architectural plan with the Hot Springs zoning board to create a mini-Camp David. Friends say he wants to use the secluded site on Lake Hamilton to schmooze with world and corporate leaders. He even looks to do some free-lance foreign policy in his favorite interest areas: the Middle East, Ireland and Africa," Mr. Bedard said.
"The Clinton Presidential Foundation Retreat is actually on 6.98 acres of family land in Hot Springs, where the kid prez grew up. It will be linked directly to the bigger Clinton's presidential library in Little Rock. It's amazing how much the retreat copies Camp David, the real presidential resort in Maryland, according to the master plan retrieved by our Suzi Parker. For example, it will have several — up to five — cottages where guests can stay. It will also have a main conference center, called the Lodge, just like at Camp David.
"But there's more. Clinton wants a boathouse, a fancy patio for parties, a gatehouse and a remote building for his U.S. Secret Service detail. He's asking for two major zoning variances, but they shouldn't be a problem. This makes four homes that Clinton can sleep in: Washington, Chappaqua, N.Y., soon in his library and at the retreat."

Gore ready to return
Former Vice President Al Gore will campaign extensively for Democratic congressional candidates, beginning in the fall, the Hill newpaper reports.
"I've spoken to the vice president; he told me he wants to wait until after the summer [and then] extensively campaign for candidates," Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, told reporter Alexander Bolton.
Mr. Gore "also plans to hire two top Democratic National Committee fund-raisers, former DNC Finance Director Brian Hardwick and Lon Johnson, to help with his political re-emergence," which suggests that he is gearing up for another presidential run, the reporter said.

Silent Democrats
"It's time for the Democratic House leadership, and indeed, leading Democrats at the national and state party level, to express serious concern about the conduct of Rep. Gary Condit," writes Lanny J. Davis, who defended Bill Clinton during various presidential scandals.
"The House Democrats, in fact, should press Mr. Condit to give a full public account of his friendship with Chandra Levy and anything he may know about her activities in the days before she disappeared," Mr. Davis said in the New York Times.
"Mr. Condit and his attorneys are trying to frame his reluctance to speak publicly about his relationship with Ms. Levy in the context of his right to a zone of privacy — and are now criticizing the media for focusing on details of the relationship. But even those who believe that politicians ought to have some privacy should see that in this case public disclosure might help find a missing young woman.
"The silence of Democratic officials is both wrong and politically short-sighted. They may be loath to give any ammunition to partisan critics who are eager to compare President Bill Clinton's conduct with Monica Lewinsky to Mr. Condit's in this case. And certainly many Democrats are still offended by Kenneth Starr's investigation into the lurid details of President Clinton's relationship with Ms. Lewinsky. But their failure to speak out may be giving tacit approval to Mr. Condit's delay in being forthcoming with the public."

RNC sets record
Given a lift by the first Republican president in eight years, the Republican National Committee raised a record $48.6 million in the first half of the year.
The party's congressional fund-raising arms are also posting record fund-raising totals. The National Republican Congressional Committee announced yesterday that it raised $38.6 million from January through June; the National Republican Senatorial Committee took in $24.6 million.
About three-fourths of the RNC's contributions, $36 million, came in regulated "hard money" contributions.
The rest, $12.6 million, is unregulated "soft money" that would be barred under campaign-finance restrictions that suffered a huge defeat yesterday in the House. Political parties typically use such money for party building and get-out-the-vote drives.
The Republican committees have raised more than their Democratic counterparts so far this year, though they also are announcing non-election-year records, the Associated Press reports.
The Democratic National Committee, in its first year without President Clinton as its lead fund-raiser, has collected $23 million. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee took in more than $20 million, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $18 million in the first six months of 2001.

Bad news for Wellstone
Sen. Paul Wellstone, Minnesota Democrat, barely edges his leading Republican rival in a new poll, Roll Call reports.
"Conducted by Mason-Dixon Political/Media Research Inc. for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the poll found Wellstone leads St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman 48 to 44 percent, which is within the poll's margin of error. Another bad omen for Wellstone is that 48 percent of respondents said the senator is doing an 'excellent' or 'good' job, while 49 percent said he is doing a 'fair' or 'poor' job," reporter Chris Cillizza writes.

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